SETTING UP YOUR BOOKS AND BUSINESS
SETTING UP AN ONLINE PAYMENT SYSTEM
We use PayPal because we are fiscally sponsored (as opposed to having our own 501(C)3, and as a result there are lots of hoops to jump through with a lot of bank based merchant account services, especially getting AmEx if it’s not packaged in.
From our experience, it's best to use PayPal if you are fiscally sponsored. Otherwise, your bank likely offers a company they partner with or you can find your own. Some examples are Bluepay, Square, Paysimple, and Authnet.
Best bet would be to go through your bank because of the simplicity of it. If you don’t, make sure the company you use (i.e. PayPal) includes AmEx because it may be an option instead of included for some.
That AmEx point is critical—at first, we exclusively used the Square Cash portal, which was convenient for some, but not the best option for donors with high income levels. None of us would have known it, being journalists and all, but a lot of people with disposable incomes don't use debit cards at all. They use credit cards almost exclusively to earn travel or merchant points, so if you're looking to lure in some big fish with a no-brainer purchase, you will definitely want to offer AmEx.
NOTE: PayPal may freeze large donations, like $2500+ sized, if you’re so lucky to receive that from an individual. So if you get large money, definitely go with another merchant service account, even if it takes some work for those fiscally sponsored.
Pictured above: Dipjar
SETTING UP IN-PERSON PAYMENTS
We have experimented with several methods. Here are the upsides and downsides of those we have worked with (and in some cases continue to work with):
- Upside: Can run on 4G/wireless
- Upside: Fastest way to process online
- Downside: Doesn't accept credit cards (debit only)
- Upside: Easy interface for in-person transactions
- Downside: Not for online use
- See: above